Wellington smells 'orchestrated attempt' to bring Labor down
SUNSHINE Coast independent Peter Wellington has accused Labor's opponents of using allegations against Cook MP Billy Gordon to tear down the government.
Mr Gordon this week resigned from the Labor party to avoid being sacked after a lengthy criminal history including allegations of domestic violence from a former partner were made public.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also demanded Mr Gordon resign from Parliament.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Wellington accused the Courier-Mail of "playing a deliberate strategy to try and discredit this government".
He said the News Limited publication did not approach him for comment, before publishing a front page targeting him.
"If anything, my position of support for the Annastacia Palaszczuk parliament in strengthened and I will not be used by anyone or any group to try and bring down this government," he said.
"I have confidence in our Premier."
"I am disappointed that my letter to the member for Cook's former partner was leaked or handed to the 'Courier-Mail' to try to create a perception to try and discredit this government.
"When I wrote to the member for Cook's former partner, I had a brief read of her matters and I was angry, I was concerned and I thought this was not good enough."
His dramatic attack comes as the Labor Government works frantically to assure its hold on power, with the loss of Mr Gordon's vote now destroying its majority.
MR Wellington said he felt like Mr Gordon's ex-partner was attempting to "play me for a fool" by releasing correspondence.
The Nicklin MP said when he first learned of the allegations from Mr Gordon's former partner, he sought advice from the Parliamentary clerk.
He intends to table that report at lunchtime today.
He said there is no legal reason for Mr Gordon not to continue as an MP in Parliament, and if he chooses to hold his seat, his vote will count like that from any other MP.
Mr Wellington refuted claims he was "too busy" to deal with the matter.
He told reporters the first letter from Mr Gordon's ex-partner arrived after 8pm on Tuesday night, and his office responded to her on Wednesday morning - the day Parliament opened with him as Speaker.
On Thursday, he summoned the clerk after staff showed him the detail of the letter and asked for advice.
He said he had not had any conversations with Premier Palaszczuk on the matter nor guessed at the Opposition's plan of attack.
"When I see what has happened since that first email to me, what has happened over the weekend, statements that have been made by members of the Opposition, the article in the paper today, it just seems there was a clearly orchestrated attempt to try and bring down this government.
"I will have no part of it."
Mr Gordon's larger criminal history was exposed on the weekend with the now independent MP releasing a statement.
His admissions included:
• Breaking, entering and stealing in 1987 in Innisfail.
• Breaking and entering with intent, attempted breaking and entering and stealing in 1990 in Atherton.
• Breach of probation in 1992 in Atherton.
• Public nuisance in 1996 in Normanton.
• Breach of bail conditions in 1999 (stemming from not attending a court summons from the 1996 incident).
• Twice had driver's licence suspended for unlicensed driving (2004 and 2008).
Gordon should quit, Wellington declares
QUEENSLAND Speaker and Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington says the honourable thing for MP Billy Gordon to do would be to resign from parliament.
Mr Gordon has admitted to having a criminal history, including convictions for burglary, stealing, public nuisance and breaching bail and probation.
The revelations came after Mr Gordon's ex-partner wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk alleging unpaid child support, missing tax returns and abuse.
Mr Wellington said it was now a waiting game to see what Mr Gordon, who quit the Labor party before the Premier could sack him, would do.
"It's totally up to the Member for Cook," Mr Wellington said.
"It's his decision if he chooses to stay or resign.
"The honourable thing for him to do would be to resign and allow a by-election - if he chooses not to, we will cross that bridge."
He said Mr Gordon was in hospital yesterday and had "lots of things to think about."
He reiterated his support for Ms Palaszczuk and said it wasn't the first or last time something like this had "come out of left field", referring to recent scandals involving LNP politicians Scott Driscoll and Peter Dowling.
"We have a bit of a chequered history with matters involving politicians," Mr Wellington said.
"I hope there's no more."
Member for Buderim Steve Dickson said Labor needed to clamp down on its vetting process of candidates.
Mr Dickson said he couldn't understand why Mr Gordon would run for government in the first place with "undisclosed issues behind him."
"I was in Parliament last Friday,'' Mr Dickson said. "I was there when the question was asked of the Premier by Lawrence Springborg about the Member for Cook.
"The Premier didn't answer the accusations absolutely accurately.''
He said the government had looked at the child maintenance and tax evasion issues but neglected to mention everything else that appeared in the next day's paper.
"When did she know?" Mr Dickson asked.
"On our side, we go through a strenuous vetting process and my advice to the Labor party would be to follow our lead because we are doing it right.
"We've experienced problems in the past and we won't be experiencing them in the future."